SIMIC/ A POET TO INVESTIGATE (As To Amass New Amazement)

January 12, 2015


Tending a cliff-hanging Grand hotel
In a country ravaged by civil war.
My heart as its only bellhop.
My brain as its Chinese cook.
It’s a run-down seaside place
With a row of gutted limousines out front,
Monkeys and fighting cocks in the great ballroom,
Potted palm trees grown wild to the ceilings.
Amelia surrounded by her beaus and fortune-tellers,
Painting heer eyelashes and lips blue
In the hour of dusk with the open sea beyond,
The long empty beaches, the tide’s shimmer…
She pleading with me to check the ledgers,
Find out if Lenin stayed here once,
Buster Keaton, Nathaniel Hawthorne,
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who wrote on love?
A hotel in which one tangos to a silence
Which has the look of cypresses in silent films…
In which children confide to imaginary friends…
In which pages of an important letter are flying…
But now a buzz from the suite with mirrors.
Amelia in the nude, black cotton over her eyes.
It seems there’s a fly
On the tip of heer lover’s Roman nose.
Night of distant guns, distant and comfortable.
I am coming with a flyswatter on a silver tray.
Ah the Turkish delights!
And the Mask of Tragedy over her pubic hair.

(CHARLES SIMIC, from Unending Blues)

.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

– Charles Simic

The madwoman went marking X’s
With a piece of school chalk
On the backs of unsuspecting
Hand-holding, homebound couples.

It was winter. It was dark already.
One could not see her face
Bundled up as she was and furtive.
She went as if wind-swept, as if crow-winged.

The chalk must have been given to her by a child.
One kept looking for him in the crowd,
Expecting him to be very pale, very serious,
Carrying a book or two in his hand.

-Charles Simic, from “New And Selected Poems”


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